Ravinica Allegiance releases this week on Arena and I’m looking to start playing a bunch of Magic in preparation for my RPTQ in February. Allegiance introduces us to the other five guilds and completes all the shards making three color strategies very enticing. With Ravinica’s Shockland cycle and Dominaria and Ixalan’s supporting land cycle, we now have manabases that can support all three color combinations. Today, I’m going to talk about what I am hoping to do with this mana and which strategies have captured my attention:
Two Colors with a Splash:
Rakdos getting access to Blood Crypt is something that was sorely lacking in the last set. Skirk Prospector is the best sacrifice outlet in Standard because it is free and unconditional (provided you’re sacrificing a Goblin). This was really interesting to me with the printing of Midnight Reaper and even more interesting once Judith, the Scourge Diva was spoiled. Having a two color deck with 8 duals that can enter untapped is very strong, but, you can push it even further by splashing a third color without playing mana taplands at all:
Here, you’ll notice that even with a splash of a third color, we can play 4 basics and 2 taplands and still hit BB for Bedevil and RR for Rekindling Phoenix. The ability to lightly splash in a 3rd color is going to add a lot of power to the guild decks because of the potency of the flip cards. Many flip cards are hybrid on one half and then two colors on the other which means you can cast one side even if you don’t have the splash yet. Adding this level of power can give you a huge edge for a small deckbuilding cost. In this Rakdos deck, I’ve been really impressed with Siege-Gang Commander. It’s a great way to slow down opposing aggro decks and is a great card to recur off of Find // Finality or Memorial to Folly. Moreover, the ability for Rakdos to have two clean removal spells before turn four really smooths the curve and allows you to slow the game down for your grindy elements to take over. Rix Maadi Reveler seems very impressive to me because of its ability to turn dead removal spells like Lava Coil into real cards against control. Even further, pairing it with Memorial to Folly and Find/Finality grants you a real avenue to recuperate cards later while hitting your land drops early and sort out a slower hand.
Three Color Plans:
Bant Hadana’s Climb
This is a more dramatic splash which requires us to push the manabase a little bit further. We want to try to cast Benthic Biomancer or Incubation // Incongruity on Turn 1 and a White spell by Turn 3. However, this deck is very tricky. Biomancer’s Familiar is very unassuming but can lead to some busted openings. Being able to play Biomancer’s Familiar and follow it up with a Growth-Chamber Guardian lets you spend just 1 mana to Adapt Growth-Chamber Guardian. You can spend 4 mana to active Shalai or Zegana’s 6 mana ability and you can continue to Adapt creatures every turn by tapping a Biomancer’s Familiar. Hadana’s Climb offers a powerful role here as well. Climb can allow you to loot additional times with Benthic Biomancer, allow you to search up additional Guardians AND it offers you the ability to put a counter on Incubation Druid and get your mana investment right back. One thing I really like about this strategy is the ability to play a grindy game but also present a powerful aggressive start. When building Bant decks, it’s not hard to see that your removal suite is fairly lackluster. You’re not going to have the biggest creatures or the fastest creatures, but, you do have an excellent sideboard. Access to Naturalizes, Counterspells and Enchantment removal are all incredibly potent tools in the post-board games and having Knight of Autumn is also something I look forward to. Knight plays especially well with Hadana’s Climb as playing it as a 4/3 means that a follow-up Hadana’s Climb will flip immediately as Knight of Autumn actually puts two counters on itself. This is a deck I’m really excited to try out.
The Power of Hybrid Cards:
Ravinica is full of multicolored and hybrid cards. Wizard’s Play Design has given us plenty of answers and a lot of cards that do similar yet slightly different things. Combining these two ideas, I tried to push Hero of Precinct One a little bit and ended up with this:
Here, we’ve done a couple things that I think are pretty cute. Firstly, Discovery // Dispersal is a Dimir card on one half, but, can just be a blue cantrip on the other. It’s very possible you could lightly splash black in order to hit the back half of it, but, I didn’t want to push the mana too far. Secondly, we can play so many cards that are similar to a control deck but are multicolored to benefit Hero of Precinct One. Playing Absorb and Ionize offers us extra payoffs. We also get to play Teferi in a deck that has a powerful Tempo dynamic to it. Crackling Drake builds up Hero while also being a powerful threat on its own and having access to counterspells plus flash threats like Sphinx’s Insight and Depose // Deploy can have our opponent scratching their head very early in the game.
Something Old and Something New
I started this article by talking about my Goblin Aristocrats deck, but, Wizards gifted me with a bevy of Aristocrat options instead. Building The Aristocrats again has been the greatest headscratcher for me so far because there’s just so many options. At the One Drop slot, there are potent cards in all of the Mardu colors, Hero of Precinct One is a great token producer while the best Afterlife cards are often monocolored. Teysa and Gruesome Menagerie help us push value, but, don’t quite synergize with each other and Judith anthems our tokens but doesn’t give us a bonus for sacrificing them. This is currently where I decided to direct my focus, but, I can’t be certain this is right.
Here, you’ll see, once again, my fascination with Hero of Precinct One because of the potency of multicolored threats you can play. I like Gutterbones ability to constantly recur and attack as a 3/1 with Judith. I feel like I want to be grinding with this more than Hunted Witness. Additionally, I love how Priest of Forgotten Gods can just go off with an army of creatures to sacrifice. This strategy looks to grind value in place of low card quality. I’m certain this isn’t the perfect build for this, but, I’m certain that there’s something here.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Hopefully these decklists get your creativity flowing and help you crush the Arena queues in the next few days.
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